Tatjana Ždanoka

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Tatjana Ždanoka
Tatjana Ždanoka1.JPG
Member of the European Parliament
In office
July 2004 – March 2018
Succeeded byMiroslav Mitrofanov
Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia
Member of Parliament
for Riga 40th district
In office
May 1990 – June 1993
Personal details
Born (1950-05-08) 8 May 1950 (age 68)
Riga, Latvia
CitizenshipUSSR (until 1991)
stateless (1991—1996)
Latvia (since 1996)
Political partyLatvian Russian Union/LRU (since 2014)
For Human Rights in a United Latvia/ForHRUL (2007–2014)
Equal Rights (1993–2007)
Communist Party of Latvia (1971—1991)
Other political
European Free Alliance
Alma materUniversity of Latvia
AwardsOrden of Friendship.png

Tatyana Arkadyevna Zhdanok, (Russian: Татья́на Арка́дьевна Ждано́к; Latvian: Tatjana Ždanoka), born May 8, 1950 in Riga, is a Latvian politician and a former Member of the European Parliament. She is co-Chairwoman of the Latvian Russian Union and sits with the European Greens–European Free Alliance group. In the period of 1988-1989 she was one of the leaders of the Interfront, a political organization opposing Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union and too rapid market reforms. She remained active in the Communist Party of Latvia after January 1991, when the party leadership called for a coup against the government of the Latvian SSR (in opposition to a restoration of independence). In 1997 Tatjana Ždanoka was elected to Riga municipal council. In 1999 she was deprived of the mandate in the Council and is prohibited from further nominating for election to the Latvian Parliament or local councils under Latvian law due to her former allegiance with the Communist Party after January 1991. She is (with Alfrēds Rubiks) in the peculiar position of being restricted to Europarliament elections.[1] Zhdanok has been co-chairman of the LRU and its predecessors since 2001.


Born in Riga, Zhdanok is of mixed Latvian Jewish-Russian origin. The family of her father was decimated by Latvian Nazi collaborators during World War II.[2]

Zhdanok became politically active in the late 1980s, at first a member of the Popular Front, she soon became one of the leaders of the Interfront, a political organization opposing Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union and too rapid market reforms. Prior to that, she taught mathematics at the University of Latvia, where she received her doctorate in mathematics in 1992. In 1989, she was elected to the Riga city Soviet, and in 1990, to the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR. Zhdanok was also active with the Communist Party of Latvia but never belonged to this party nomenclature.[citation needed]

From 1995 till 2004 Zhdanok was co-chairman of the Latvian Human Rights Committee (a member of FIDH).[3] She has also been one of the leaders of Equal Rights since it foundation in 1993 and of the For Human Rights in United Latvia alliance.

In 1999 Ždanoka was banned from running for the Latvian parliament Saeima and deprived of her seat on Riga city council, because she had participated in two seats of the Communist Party's Audit Committee after the party leadership called for a coup against the elected government of the Latvian SSR in January 1991. Subsequently she sued Latvia in the European Court of Human Rights.

With the court case pending, the Latvian parliament decided not to impose restrictions on former members of the Communist Party in the 2004 European Parliament elections. Zhdanok was elected to the European Parliament in June 2004 and won the court case a few days later with a margin of 5-2. Latvia appealed the decision to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that Latvia's emergence from totalitarian rule brought about by the occupation of Latvia had not been sufficiently taken into account, and on March 16, 2006, the court ruled 13-4 that Zhdanok's rights had not been violated. The Court also called the Latvian legislature to "keep the statutory restriction under constant review, with a view to bringing it to an early end (..) the failure by the Latvian legislature to take active steps in this connection may result in a different finding by the Court".[4]

In 2005 Zhdanok became one of the founders of the EU Russian-Speakers' Alliance.[5]

In 2004, she ran successfully for MEP as a candidate of the largest Russian political bloc in Latvia.[6] She also won a seat in 2009.[1] In the European Parliament she was a member of the fraction The Greens–European Free Alliance.

Ždanoka took part in the election observation of the controversial Crimean referendum in 2014.[7] In May, she suggested to the European Council to classify Ukrainian political bloc Right Sector as a "terrorist organization."[8]

A submission has been made by another Latvian MEP, Kārlis Šadurskis, to the Latvian state prosecutor to investigate Ždanoka for treasonous activities against Latvia and other sovereign states. In his submission, Mr Šadurskis pointed to her participation at events organised by "Essence of Time".[9] The application of Šadurskis was rejected by Security Police which didn't find a crime in Ždanoka's actions.[10]

Tatjana Ždanoka was elected as a member of the European Parliament in 2004, 2009 and 2014.

In January 2018 Ždanoka left European Parliament and returned to Latvian politics with the intention of running for 2018 Latvian parliamentary election in October[11], being named Latvian Russian Union's #1 ticket for Vidzeme region, however on August 21 Latvia's Central Election Committee removed her from the list of candidates on the same basis that barred her from running in the 1999 parliamentary election.[12]


The Jamestown Foundation's Vladimir Socor has called her a "radical" opposed to Latvian national statehood.[6]


  1. ^ a b Kaspar Näf 11 June 2009: Kaspar Näf: eurovalimised tugevdasid Läti venemeelseid, published by Postimees
  2. ^ Lieven, Anatol. The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-300-06078-5, ISBN 978-0-300-06078-2. P. 442. "Zdhanoka, Tatiana: Born 1953. From a Riga Jewish family murdered by Latvian Nazi auxiliaries in 1941."
  3. ^ "Tatjana ŽDANOKA - Parliamentary activities - MEPs - European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu.
  4. ^ ECtHR Grand Chamber judgment in Ždanoka v. Latvia para. 135
  5. ^ http://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/latvia/article.php?id=13585949 (in Russian)
  6. ^ a b Jamestown Foundation 23 May 2004: Zhdanok Candidacy Polarizes Latvian Election by Vladimir Socor
  7. ^ Sputnik. "Sputnik International - Breaking News & Analysis - Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics". voiceofrussia.com.
  8. ^ "Latvian European Parliament deputy suggests Right Sector be deemed terrorists".
  9. ^ (http://www.apollo.lv/zinas/ludz-generalprokuraturu-sakt-kriminalprocesu-pret-zdanoku/642481)
  10. ^ Шадурскис отказался преследовать Жданок(in Russian)
  11. ^ "Ždanoka quits Brussels to run Saeima campaign for party". Latvijas Sabiedriskais medijs. January 15, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "Russian Union leader Ždanoka nixed from Saeima elections". Latvijas Sabiedriskais medijs. August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.

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